|Newspaper Title||Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907)|
|Trove Title||A Rose Among Cornstalks|
A Rose Among Cornstalks.
(By Ruby Wh Ittel.)
.Affectionately dedicated to Uncle Dick.
' It was so not:
. With a sultry, queer, portentous sort of heat \%vhieh made one look at the clouds, and oxpect thunderstorms and feel unsettled and too full cf electricity. And Girlie was practising in tho 'drawing-room, while Rose lay back in a rocking chair near, 'reading "Little Women." Moola was «irranging some brilliant scarlet and^white roses together in a groat bowl, and helping Girlie at in tervals as she plodded through "Kohler's Seventh Study." Girlie was cross, and thumped out any thiunb notes viciously. She hated music, and Vithçtré'had been some stormy scenes during her les ions. . She used to kick her tittle strap-shoed feet against the piano when she was angry, and once said bitterly that sho knew-oh, yes, she knew, ehe was only made to learn music to keep up the .Respectability of the family. Aud tho family '.?pilly laughed at her, and Jack was unkind enough to say that if the respectability of tho family noeded keeping up it would be as well not to trust to . Girlie's music to do it. He and Ted were
-^»1^1 th Uncle John somewhere; it was about a íogfOT|^t after Babette's adventure. After they ripoí^plette back they were all quite ready to for
¡g'et/'atid ue the same as ever to Rose, but she slirauk into a sort of an ashamed proud coldness, ¡which raised a great barrier; she buried herself in,books and English magazines, and could not be iVo'rsuaded to glance at an Australian paper, not: even on Saturdays. Mrs. Darrell xinderstood 'Rose best of all," and sympathised with her ¿reservo and with the little vanity which really was
only a carefulness inborn, in the girl, and she trust- , ed to time to soften the barrier of dislike and cold ness between the cousins. The quiet, patient in yalid was not yet dressed this sultry morning, and [Babette was upstairs with her painting1 a very ela borate text, with stupid chalk paint, which looked yery brilliant, but which scarcely colorad at all.
'. "Piggish old study thjs is," grumbled Girlie, leay* lng olit a B flat with persistent 111-teroper. "And there are two bara marked 'to be played tweuty times over.' It's r'dlculous!" -.
) "I think if old Kchler could hear you he'd havo marked lt forty times instead of twenty," said Moola tiot quite sweetly for her. "And do remember the B flat, Girlie, and don't kick the plano; you scratch * lt dreadfully. O-h-h! what is that."
A great crimson rose fell from her fingers QB she Btarted, the dogs barked furiously, and Jack and (Ted appeared on the verandah cut-'Id?, excitedly flung lopen the French windole, and burst in upon them
. "Coma on, girls," Jack cried, rushing past them,
)to get his gun. "Come on, over to the stables-r' great excitement!" and his tall form vaniehad. . Ted took up the tale. _ . "
"We're trapping" native cats under the stable, and it's great fun-lost thirty-nine chickens last night,
.nd we've set! traps, and caught eleven already, and iverytime we go back there are more ia thé traps. Come and see the kittens; there are about a dozen. ..Come on, quick!"
Moola and Rose looked at one another question Íflgly. Girlie had already dashed off, and her blue
tound Kohler lay In a miserably dejected heap on he floor, and there was a delicate hazy vibration of
music near the plano.
< "I will not come,""said Rose, coldly. "It'is too hot," and she turned to her book once more, ivioola looked,at her gravely a moment, then she [turned to Ted with a touch of the crimson color
01 the roses strewn around, in her che«.*.«». "I will J<
com©," ano Bald, tying a sunbonnet on her dark head; "1 will come." And they dashed off stable warda, where Jack had already returned; and he and the two old twins, Jem and Zachariah, were skinning some cats near by very quietly, and lis tening for any sound from the trap they had plac ed, under the feed-room.
"Hush! don't make a row-!" warned Jack; "or they'll scoot away, and we won't catch any more. We've baited the traps with raw meat, and, by Jove! they seemed to smell it a mile away."
Moola was shown the kittens-little horrible, hairless, raw-looking things. Girlie wished to keep one; but Zachariah said lt was far too young; and, indeed, the little things looked too horrid for Girlie to fall in love with them very deeply; so she gave in quite, graciously for her. Then, after half an hour's patient watching, there was a snarl and a snap under-' the feed-room, and Jack and Ted rushed to it, the twins hobbling after them; they had been baiting another trap, but threw it down at tho first snarl.
"Don't go round!" cried Moola to Girlie. "You don't want to see the thing killed, do you? It is horrible, and I wish I hadn't come; but there was Jack and the kittens. Suppose we finish put ting the bait in tho trap, and go home again?"
She took the trap in her little olive-skinned hands, and tried to see how lt worked; while Gir lie stood expectantly by. . Then there was a snap. Moola screamed in a pitiful, wild, startled way, and there was her hand caught in the trap just in the fleshy part of the palm-the Mount of Luna, as a palmist would call it. It was agonis ing, and she did not know how to open the trap, and her strength seemed to bo going in a faint, dreadful way; while Girlie stood near stupidly
"Tell them to come," gasped Moola. "Quick
oh! Girlie 1"
She did not know how long it was before Jack was kneeling beside her, freeing her hand from ^the agonising bite of the trap; it seemed a very, ! very long time, and Ted and the ancient twins i looked on, and Girlie gave advice, as usual.
"It's your right hand, old girl," said Jack, ten derly for him: "and it's pretty bad-shouldn't wonder if you can't use lt. Come up to the I houBe and bathe1 it; lt might get poisoned Or
something. * Crumbs', you are white? Girlie,' ! leave my gun alone, you little ass! Come on, Moola! Here, I'll help you."
Moola tried to smile in a very specially bright way, but the pain was horrible, and she always after this felt sorrier than ever for the poor littlu native cats who were entrapped.
Zachariah examined her small, delicate hand in his great bark-like, brown one, and nodded his head up and down, and made little noises with his tongue and the roof of his mouth, sup posed to express sympathy and surprise and a great many other things.
Then as the little party of four went towards the house through the thunder-charged, stormy air, he turned to Jim and "let off steam" in a short, fierce, "Hang 'olidays!" !
(To be continued.) ¡